It never used to be like this. Not when we were sixteen and overused exclamation points in everything.
We never used to have these stories, never used to be in the middle of them, or on the edge of them, but now we are. Us who are between seedling twenty and who-knows- what.
And I realize it’s not because I’ve become more sensitive that I can’t go through the names of my twenty closest friends without catching my breath on almost every one and breathing prayers.
It’s this time. It’s the age of me–the age of my friends.
It’s us, still little, still young, in the middle of being tested, bent by real life though we still feel sixteen inside.
We have barely touched adulthood, but still cling to our tarnished adolescent idealism, disillusioned, but our fingers tighten, reluctant to let it go.
I guess we don’t grow into adulthood. I guess we crack, we splinter, and we fall all over our own two feet to get there.
And we plough through relationships that people spend years writing self help books on and try to do it right. Oh, we try hard. And just as hard, we wrestle though life wide decisions and, blast it all, we are going to follow God’s will. And this is the age when we start to wonder if we even know how.
We now realize that answers cannot be neatly printed in the blanks spaces of Sunday school worksheets, with our favorite red crayon. And no matter how close we follow what those respected for-youth books said to do, we don’t end up where they said we would be.
Our hearts still feel little, but we are in the middle of big stories now. And we are blinking.
It’s the time–the age–when petty faith shatters on the marble of real life and what we never doubted we do. In the light streaming in from the window we start sifting though the pieces to find the shards that are real glass and to throw away the scotch tape for good.
And stretching, stretching, our stories pull us bigger.
This is the age when the littleness inside us starts leaving. But gracious, how it breaks the bones! And we hold each other up and say “In 10 years or forever…”
But this is the age of rejoicing too because life is hope and we can just hang out and be confused together. And we tell each other that our stories are not unknown to the Greater Story and we are part of it and are meant to be part of it, which is the biggest miracle of all. So we laugh at each other.
And as Joshua Radin sings,
“We are grown but cannot see.
Lost our world of make believe….
But we are okay, we are alright
We sing very loud.
Ya, we’re singing.
We are okay, we are alright…”
And this is where we sing very loud, and eat popcorn, and sit in coffee shops, and talk, and find our faith for real—and walk ahead whether we see the path or not, altogether.
This is the age of blind ones walking and all we see yet is trees where our stories lie.